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Child tax credit doubles under tax bill passed by Congress
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Luke Hernaze, 2, plays with a train set at the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids in Gainesville on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. - photo by David Barnes

Kay Skupas helps tie aprons on her two granddaughters, Nikki and Eli, as the paints are readied.

Here at the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids in Gainesville, families can enjoy a variety of activities that allow children to explore and create.  

It’s become particularly useful for parents with preschool-age kids and those who home-school, said Director of Operations Charlie Bramwell.

What could also be useful for these parents is the expansion of a tax credit for child-rearing, which was one of many provisions in the $1.5 trillion tax cut Republicans passed through Congress on Wednesday.

“It’s great,” Skupas said. “There’s plenty of parents who need it.”

The legislation doubles the credit per child to $2,000 from $1,000 and allows parents to receive up to $1,400 as a refund so long as the credit exceeds their federal income tax liability.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 permanently increased the tax credit to $1,000 per child from $500.

The expansion might offset the elimination of a $4,050 personal exemption for individuals, their spouse and each of their dependents, which lowered overall taxable income.

It also comes at a crucial time when negotiations among lawmakers failed to deliver an expansion of the child and dependent care tax credit, which helps reduce day care expenses.

The expansion of the tax credit benefits even higher-income families who are less dependent on child care support by raising the income threshold to $200,000 for single parents, up from $75,000 today.

The credit threshold grows to $400,000 for married couples, up from $110,000.

Skupas’ own daughter, Kelly Hernaze, said changes to the child tax credit are something she and her husband would look into.

With a 2-year-old son, Luke, to go along with her two daughters, Hernaze said it might be important to “take advantage” of the tax credit.

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